Tuvaluans living on Funafuti recently welcomed the unveiling of a huge and highly anticipated new waterfront recreation area, which will enable the atoll’s 4,000-plus residents to enjoy a range of leisure activities and beach sports.
Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga officially opened the Queen Elizabeth II Park at a recent ceremony.
Cameron Hall, CEO of Hall Pacific – the company contracted by the Government of Tuvalu to undertake design and construction – said the local community would benefit from the new recreation area for years to come.
“Funafuti is home to more than 50 per cent of Tuvalu’s population and at just 593 acres in size, useable land space is a valuable commodity for residents,” Mr Hall said.
“The atoll’s foreshore areas tend to be quite rocky, so these works have created a unique open space along the waterfront where the community can gather.”
Mr Hall said the new recreation area was approximately 40,000m2 in size, with beach nourishment works also carried out in a 55,000m2 stretch of the foreshore.
“Prior to the beach nourishment works being completed, much of the existing foreshore was comprised of solidified calcium carbonate, which made the ground quite firm and highly susceptible to erosion.
“Our recreation area and nourishment works saw approximately 115,000m3 of sand dredged from the nearby lagoon and pumped to a reclamation area on the coastline.”
“Two strategically placed groynes made out of 2.5m3 sand containers were also constructed to retain the sand. This has not only made the area more appealing for public use, but will also assist in combating coastal erosion.”
Mr Hall said approximately 20 workers had been involved in delivering the works, with three quarters of the project workforce comprised of Tuvaluan locals.
“We pride ourselves on giving back to the communities we work in and creating employment and training opportunities for local workers,” Mr Hall said.
“Our Tuvaluan staff members were trained in the operation of excavators, trucks, loaders and work boats as part of the five-month project and were a true asset to the team.”
Hall Pacific has delivered a number of projects in Tuvalu including the repair of a storm breach and filling of ‘borrow pits’ on Funafuti, as well as construction of a seawall on the Nukufetau atoll which will assist in protecting locals from the impacts of climate change.
The company services the Pacific Islands and specialises in climate change adaptation and resilience including land reclamation, coastal protection, flood mitigation dredging and infrastructure delivery.